During the course of his traditional Christmas message of mercy and goodwill, the Supreme Leader singled out those who had offended him during the past year:
‘Here let me allude to another danger: those who betray the trust put in them and profiteer from the Church’s motherhood. I am speaking of persons carefully selected to give a greater vigour to the body and to the reform, but – failing to understand the lofty nature of their responsibility – let themselves be corrupted by ambition or vainglory. Then, when they are quietly sidelined, they wrongly declare themselves martyrs of the system, of a “Pope kept in the dark”, of the “old guard”…, rather than reciting a mea culpa. Alongside these, there are others who are still working there, to whom all the time in the world is given to get back on the right track, in the hope that they find in the Church’s patience an opportunity for conversion and not for personal advantage.’
The members of the Politburo looked nervously from one to another. Which of them was it?
Meanwhile, in an adjacent room, the KGB were polishing their jackboots..